Demon Faith: Can it Save?by Harold Vaughan — 17 years, 10 months ago
I remember hearing a well-known former Black Panther give his testimony. Standing before thousands of people he said he “looked up at the moon and saw the face of Jesus.” That was his salvation testimony! Since then I, like you, have heard scores of dubious testimonies. Norman Vincent Peale said, “Any faith is better than no faith. It’s better to be a Buddhist than nothing.” When it comes to defining the nature of saving faith the waters are very muddy!
What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which said, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. (James 2:14-26)
The demons “believe and tremble,” but most Baptist only believe! Demons confess with their mouth that there is only one God. They are affected mentally, they believe. They are shaken emotionally, they tremble. Yet they are unchanged spiritually. Demons are informed, but not transformed. They are convinced, but not converted. They recognized Christ but they did not repent.
The Disturbing Faith of Demons
The faith of demons is disturbing because it so closely resembles the type of faith displayed in popular Christianity. It’s disturbing because it’s orthodox, but dead. In fact, demons believe in every fundamental doctrine of Biblical Christianity.
Demons believe in the deity of Jesus Christ (which is better than the liberals!)
When the Lord Jesus entered a synagogue an evil spirit cried out, “I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God” (Mark 1:23-24). Another demon cried out with a loud voice, “What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God” (Mark 5:7). There are no neo-orthodox demons! I cannot find in the Gospels where any demon denied the deity of Christ. They are as certain as the Apostles that Jesus is God.
Demons believe Jesus is the Way of Salvation (which is better than the major denominations)
Possessed with a spirit of divination, a girl followed Paul and cried saying, “These men are servants of the most high God, which show us the way of salvation” (Acts 16:16-17). In Mark 3 we read of unclean spirits who fell before Jesus saying, “Thou art the Son of God” (vs. 11). “Son of God” is the redemptive title of Jesus, the Savior of mankind! This is the same confession Peter made when he said, “Thou are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Demons believe in the authority of the Bible (which is better than most pastors)
Just like Satan demons are Bible believers, not Bible obeyers! Remember how Satan quoted Scripture to Jesus in the wilderness temptation (Luke 4). In Revelation 12 we read how the devil is filled with rage “because he knoweth that he hath but a short time” (Rev. 12:12). How does he know his time is short? Because he knows Bible prophecy! I find no record in the Gospels of any “Doubting Thomas” demons who questioned the inerrancy of Scripture. Demon faith gives intellectual assent to the Bible, but no heartfelt submission to the Savior.
Demons believe in hell (which is better than most Protestants)
Two “exceeding fierce” demon possessed men met Jesus “And behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?” Matt. 8:29). Snarling and growling these evil spirits said, “Art thou come to torment us before the time?” Contrast their response with Saul when he encountered Christ on the Damascus Road, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” These demons believed Christ was their judge and their destiny was in His hands. They believed in a set time and a set place of torment. They questioned Christ, “art thou come to torment us before the time?”
Demon faith has even produced answers to prayer
Don’t misunderstand! Demons never pray unless they’re forced to. They never cry out to God voluntarily. Yet we find a “legion” of demons whom Christ encountered begging Him to cast them into a herd of swine. And Jesus granted their request! The faith of demons is disturbing because:
- it has produced answers to prayer
- it believes in hell
- it believes in the authority of Scripture
- it believes Jesus is the Way of Salvation
- it believes in the deity of Christ
The amazing thing is that while demons believe all this they are still damned!
Deficiency of Demon Faith
Demons exhibit no enthusiasm for Jesus Christ
You’ll never find these evil spirits singing, “What can wash away my sin, Nothing but the blood of Jesus. What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. Oh! precious is the flow that makes me white as snow. No other fount I know. Nothing but the blood of Jesus.” While they don’t deny the fact of the Cross, but they don’t celebrate it. Demons never sing, “Oh that old rugged Cross, so despised by the world, has a wondrous attraction for me.” Rather than being drawn and attracted to Christ and His Cross they snarled, “Have you come to torment us before the time?” Far from delight, they are disturbed when they consider the victory of Calvary. Does the “old rugged cross” have a wondrous attraction to you? Is there any magnetism between your heart and Christ? You see, demon faith feels no enthusiasm for Christ.
If you’ve never seen yourself as a sinner there’s really no reason to get excited over a Savior. Charles Spurgeon said, “If you have no wish for others to be saved then you are not saved yourself.” A lady came and got saved in one of our crusades. Immediately after trusting Christ she said, “Now we have to get my husband saved.”
Friend, are you excited about Jesus Christ? Do you desire to bring others to Him? Is your heart drawn to Christ?
Remember demons “believe and (even) tremble,” yet they are LOST! Is your faith any different from the faith of demons? Are you enthralled with the person of Jesus Christ?
Demon Faith does not lead to repentance
In 1927 Dietrich Bonhoeffer described the heresy of “cheap grace—the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance.” Jesus said, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” In Luke 13:3-5 He shocked the self-righteous when He said, “Except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish.” Our Lord gave us the message to preach when He said, “Repentance and remission of sins shall be preached in His name.” Paul preached “repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” Acts 17:30 says that God now “commandeth all men everywhere to repent.” And Romans 2:4 says that it is “the goodness of God that leads thee to repentance.”
There is one essential difference between demons and Christians—demons have never repented!
In modern times no other doctrine has been so maligned, misrepresented, and misunderstood as the doctrine of repentance. “Repent” means to “change the mind” or to “change one’s attitude.” Every Bible illustration of conversion clearly demonstrates that this change of mind leads to a change of heart which produces a change of life. How many are there today who want heaven without holiness, consolation without consecration, and grace without government?
Sure, demons believe and tremble, but they never confess and forsake their sin. They never humble themselves by mourning and grieving over their rebellion. Like multiplied millions in America these demonic spirits never seek God’s mercy with a broken heart because of their sin. Like Felix who trembled when Paul reasoned with him of “righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come” their essential character remains unchanged. Have you ever changed your attitude toward your sin, yourself, and your God? Have you repented?
Demon Faith is deficient in good works
“Faith without works is dead.” James reiterates this three times in James 2:17, 20, 26. Dead faith is demon faith and this kind of faith cannot save. One of the reformers said, “You are saved by faith alone, but the faith that saves is never alone, it is always accompanied by good works.” It is true that good works do not prove you are saved, but the absence of good works prove you are not!
Christ said, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in they name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Matt. 7:21-23)
These people who called Jesus “Lord” boast of good works yet they are eternally lost. Good works do not prove a person is a Christian but the absence of good works proves he is not. Judas Iscariot did good works. He called Jesus Master. No doubt he saw apostolic miracles. He kissed the door of heaven. Yet, he fell headlong into hell.
“We are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works” (Eph. 2:10). Faith without works is dead! Faith without fruit is dead. Where there is no fruit there is no root. In reference to fruit the Bible speaks of 30 fold, 60 fold, and 100 fold. Not everyone is the same but there must be something! Churches used to require a clear-cut salvation testimony and what they termed “credible evidences of salvation.” They understood that while good works were not the way to salvation this good fruit bore credence to the fact that saving faith was present in the heart of the person seeking to unite with the church.
Demon Faith does not affect behavior
Demons are well informed but not transformed. They are enlightened but not enlivened. Like scores in churches their belief system does not affect their lifestyle. A bumper sticker combo recently caught my eye. One advertised a local rock station and the other one read “Jesus Is Lord Over Roanoke!” Reporters shoved a microphone into the face of the man who had just won an automobile race. He said, “That was a **** of a race out there tonight. I want to thank Jesus Christ because I couldn’t have done it without him.” In one breath he’s cursing and swearing. The next he’s crediting Jesus Christ for his victory. When a person’s beliefs have no affect on his speech and habits of life mark it down—it is the same type of faith that demons have. Salvation is not just a matter of information; it’s a matter of transformation! J.C. Ryle said, “Where there is no holy living there is no Holy Ghost.”
2 Corinthians 5:17 states, “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.” If “old things” never pass away and all things don’t become new then the person is not a “new creature’ and the person must still be “in Adam” because he’s not “in Christ.” If the old man doesn’t give way to the new man then the individual is still “dead in trespasses and sins.” No, saved people are not perfect, but they are different from what they used to be!
“If any man have not the spirit of Christ he is none of His” (Ro. 8:19). The transforming work of God’s Spirit is obvious. “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Cor. 3:18).
Demons are not changed because they do not have the Spirit of God. Friend, if you are not being changed or chastened then you do not have the Spirit of God either!
Jesus came to save his people from their sin, not in their sin. Saving faith affects the way a man lives his life. (Who ever dreamed the day would come when professing Bible believing Christians would debate whether salvation meant a changed life!)
“What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith (that kind of faith) save him?” It is possible to cross all the T’s intellectually and dot all the I’s theologically and still go to hell! Remember demons believe: (1) there is one God (2) in the deity of Christ (3) in the authority of Scripture (4) Jesus is the Way of Salvation and (5) in hell. Intellectual assent and trembling are not conversion. What kind of faith do you have?
Is it a faith that produces good works? Is yours a faith that leads to repentance? Does your faith affect your lifestyle? Does your life back up what you say you believe? Does your faith cause you to be excited about Jesus Christ?
“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” (2 Cor. 13:5).